CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—July 19, 2016 (James Street Media Services)—Already breaking ground in the logistics industry with its Innovation Labs, Kenco Logistics is now crowdsourcing from its workforce to develop innovative supply chain solutions.
Last winter, a quarterly competition was started for Kenco employees to brainstorm and share creative ideas for challenges facing the company, its clients, and the industry. Since that time, more than 100 innovative ideas have been submitted and reviewed. A number of these ideas are now in development at the Kenco Innovation Labs.
The Innovation Labs Challenge augments passive suggestion boxes with an online program that emphasizes social interaction and collaboration—even being able to "vote up or down" and comment on each other's ideas. Suggestion boxes typically focus on tactical changes and ideas, while the idea challenges focus more on long-term, strategic problems and solutions.
"We firmly believe that the best ideas come from those working in our warehouses, driving our trucks, and servicing our equipment every day," said Trever Ehrlich, Kenco's creative solutions manager. "We want to make sure these innovations are given visibility, shared, and celebrated throughout the company."
The Innovation Labs team selects categories for the challenges, and then opens the contest for 30 days. Topics so far have included efficiency and productivity, safety and security, virtual reality possibilities, and management opportunities.
The Lab's staff chooses winners based on criteria established for that challenge. And, whichever idea gets the most votes becomes the "People's Choice" winner. The winners receive prizes that range from electronic tablets to branded products.
Kenco's Innovation Labs was created in 2015 with a dedicated team of innovation specialists who collaborate with customers to identify, research, and prototype leading-edge ideas and processes. The team also partners with entrepreneurs and vendors from multiple industries to identify trends that can be cost-effectively applied in the supply chain, enabling them to create unique, customer-driven solutions.